London open: Stocks rise as coronavirus fears ease; inflation data eyed
London stocks rose in early trade on Wednesday as investors took some comfort from news that new cases of the coronavirus in China have fallen.
At 0840 GMT, the FTSE 100 was up 0.7% at 7,433.24.
London Capital Group analyst Jasper Lawler said: "A small decline in the number of coronavirus cases combined with a determination on behalf of the Chinese government to ward off the economic damage is seeing an uplift in market mood.
"We aren’t putting too much stock in the official China figures, which appear to paint a picture rather than reflect reality. But if Beijing ups stimulus measures then those economic effects are real."
On the UK data front, the consumer, retail and producer price indices are all due at 0930 GMT.
CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson said the headline CPI numbers for January are likely to see a little bit of an uplift as transport costs rise at the beginning of the new calendar year as rail fare rises get factored in.
"To offset that we might see discounting by retailers, acting as an anchor, after a disappointing December for retailers saw consumers hold back on spending. Expectations are for headline CPI to rise from 1.3% to 1.7% while core CPI is expected to nudge up to 1.5% from 1.4%," he said.
In equity markets, miners advanced following heavy losses in the previous session, with Antofagasta, Anglo American, BHP and Glencore all up, while steelmaker Evraz also gained.
HSBC was in the green, having fallen sharply on Tuesday as it announced job cuts and a drop in annual profit.
South America-focused miner Hochschild Mining surged to the top of the FTSE 250 as it said higher precious metals prices helped it to double annual profits. The company said pre-tax profits rose to $76.8m from $38.4m on a 7% increase in revenue to $755.7m.
International Consolidated Airlines Group flew higher as Qatar Airways upped its stake in the British Airways and Iberia parent to 25.1% from 21.4%.
Moneysupermarket.com lost ground as it said it is looking for a new chief executive after Mark Lewis told the price comparison business he wanted to leave.
In broker note action, housebuilder Berkeley was boosted by an upgrade to ‘buy’ at HSBC. Barratt and Persimmon also rallied.
Shares of hedge fund Man Group rose after an upgrade to ‘outperform’ at Exane and Diploma was higher after an upgrade to ‘add’ at Peel Hunt.
On the downside, Synthomer was knocked lower by a downgrade to ‘hold’ at Peel Hunt, while Royal Mail was weaker after Liberum reiterated its ‘sell’ recommendation on the stock and slashed the price target to 120p from 175p. It said that management openly questioning the achievability of its 2024 targets just nine months after its strategy launch is "hardly encouraging".
FTSE 100 - Risers
Berkeley Group Holdings (The) (BKG) 5,558.00p 3.66%
Centrica (CNA) 75.62p 2.66%
HSBC Holdings (HSBA) 563.30p 2.07%
Evraz (EVR) 384.80p 2.01%
Hikma Pharmaceuticals (HIK) 1,952.00p 1.67%
Barratt Developments (BDEV) 885.20p 1.65%
Persimmon (PSN) 3,295.00p 1.60%
Anglo American (AAL) 2,087.00p 1.58%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 861.80p 1.56%
Glencore (GLEN) 229.50p 1.50%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) 4,895.00p -0.69%
Auto Trader Group (AUTO) 574.20p -0.49%
NMC Health (NMC) 841.20p -0.36%
WPP (WPP) 971.00p -0.31%
Just Eat Takeaway.Com N.V. (CDI) (JET) 7,530.00p -0.26%
Kingfisher (KGF) 220.50p -0.23%
Meggitt (MGGT) 631.80p -0.22%
Burberry Group (BRBY) 1,974.50p -0.20%
BT Group (BT.A) 155.52p -0.19%
Unilever (ULVR) 4,627.50p -0.12%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Hochschild Mining (HOC) 171.10p 6.60%
Man Group (EMG) 157.90p 6.08%
Spirent Communications (SPT) 256.00p 2.40%
Centamin (DI) (CEY) 140.00p 2.34%
Fresnillo (FRES) 703.60p 2.27%
Diploma (DPLM) 2,082.00p 2.06%
Watches of Switzerland Group (WOSG) 386.80p 2.06%
Equiniti Group (EQN) 217.00p 1.97%
Kainos Group (KNOS) 864.00p 1.89%
McCarthy & Stone (MCS) 159.00p 1.79%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Foresight Solar Fund Limited (FSFL) 112.50p -3.43%
Royal Mail (RMG) 173.85p -3.09%
Hyve Group (HYVE) 90.30p -2.90%
Moneysupermarket.com Group (MONY) 307.80p -2.87%
Future (FUTR) 1,310.00p -2.67%
Go-Ahead Group (GOG) 2,170.00p -1.99%
Aston Martin Lagonda Global Holdings (AML) 424.90p -1.32%
Bodycote (BOY) 860.50p -1.32%
Greencoat UK Wind (UKW) 144.20p -1.10%
Synthomer (SYNT) 328.60p -1.08%